Much is currently being said of President Mugabe’s legacy. What will it look like and can a new generation hold it in high regard as a benchmark for governance?
Look at Nelson Mandela as an African icon. Does Mugabe match up to that? Mandela left office after one term because he felt South Africans should not be burdened by rulers with overweening personal ambitions and wives who are even worse. Are they really indispensable as they claim?
A letter to the editor of NewsDay summarised the problem of redundant statesmen. The writer referred to the destruction of the country’s economy over 34 years, to high levels of unemployment and destruction of the health system, among other things.
“Turning our clean, healthy and beautiful cities into filthy bazaars,” he wrote, “the destruction of our railways, demolition of our road system, decimation of our food chain, allowing corruption to run riot among cronies in the name of indigenisation, disappearing abroad several times a year with a retinue several times bigger than delegations from thriving countries — all at state expense while his people are starving in the rural areas.”
Dismissing the calamity of Gukurahundi as being a “moment of madness” and most of all exhibiting a complete lack of empathy of the people he swore to serve tells us all we need to know.
“A legacy indeed … What more could we want?”
Saviour Kasukuwere clai-med Zimbabweans do not vote for people on account of their age. “People claim Mugabe is bad. Mugabe is old,” he said. “We do not vote for a person’s age but what he stands for.”
Really? So why are we constantly being told of the president’s wisdom and longevity?
“We will not allow you (others) to rule,” Kasukuwere proclaimed. “The old man is ruling.”
Indeed, he is and he won’t get out of the way! Why doesn’t Kasukuwere judge Mugabe by his record? Is that not the procedure we expect of our politicians, instead of declarations of power? We certainly don’t expect the wives of rulers to block the will of the people.
That is the reverse of democratic practice. Zanu PF keeps reminding us of how revolutionary the party is.
But then reality intrudes. We recall the 2000 referendum, the 2002 election and 2008 contest in which brutality was the order of the day.
Chiminya and Mabika and Ndira are names we should remember. Their young lives were taken by a ruling party determined to avoid relinquishing power.
And the MDC-T rose to the occasion by doing nothing and saying nothing when the party’s leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Sekai Holland, among others, were brutally assaulted at Machipisa police station. Kasukuwere gave a demonstration of the nature of his party when he said they were “chasing the likes of Kaukonde because they were running around with funny agendas”.
So, “running around with a funny agenda” is an offence in Zanu PF? What crass politics!
Funny agendas we are aware of include diesel from a rock, the idle multi-million jatropha plant in Mt Hampden and winter maize project in Chiredzi. Kasukuwere was part of these funny projects!
Largely influenced by the “motorcade mentality”, the First Lady Grace Mugabe upped her insensitivity by evicting families from Manzou Estate in Mazowe.
The land grab exercise, widely reported in the media strongly qualifies her as another Jezebel, the biblical wife of King Ahab, who fomented injustice and killed for the sake of enriching herself.
Not concerned about the welfare of the already impoverished villagers, Grace believes a wildlife sanctuary is superior to human life.
Why should the First Lady show so much care for wild animals to an extent of inflicting pain on disgruntled villagers who earn a living from farming?
Chilling pictures of villagers whose homes were razed by armed police allude to more misery Zimbabweans are going to face at the hands of Grace.
President Robert Mugabe, who has clearly shown he is unable to rein in his wife who has been exhibiting an errant character since last year during her meet-the-people tours, is leaving a tainted legacy marked by abuse of human rights. Lacking credentials to be a leader, Grace obviously believes in brutal control.
She is already an accomplished dictator — values either imparted to her by Mugabe or attributes inherent in her bloodstream. Doesn’t it beg the question when Zanu PF tells us she is an appropriate candidate to lead the party’s Women League?
Our sister paper the Standard reported this week that “The on-going evictions are taking place in spite of a valid court order giving the villagers the right to stay at the property until government allocates them alternative pieces of land.”
However, it seems the new modus operandi overseen by Grace knows no justice — her instincts are above the courts of law. And who dares challenge a directive from the most powerful woman in the country?
When Ian Smith replaced Winston Field as Southern Rhodesia’s Prime Minister in April 1964, history informs us that Britain’s Labour Party leader Harold Wilson called it “brutal” while liberation war fighter and nationalist leader Joshua Nkomo described the new Smith Cabinet as “a suicide squad … not interested in the welfare of all the people but only in their own”.
The new crop of political leadership in Zimbabwe, especially after Zanu PF’s December congress, reflect Nkomo’s words. The ruthless gang that chucked out former vice-president Joice Mujuru from the party and government seems determined to maim in order to please the queen mother — directly qualifying to be named a “suicide squad”, whose governance maxim is detached and alien from welfarism. When Grace sings, they all dance to the tune no matter how boring, shallow and void the chorus sounds.
As has become the norm when schools open, teachers threaten to go on strike. Apex council this week indicated civil servants were planning to go on a nationwide industrial action to force government to meet its demands.
Is government still interested in the so-called mass demonstrations when it finds it normal to underpay its workers and when it can hardly deliver basic services to keep education and health, among other critical sectors vibrant?
Surprisingly the Apex council is divided, with Zimta reportedly saying it will not participate in the proposed strike.
Who is benefiting here? Some so-called workers’ representatives should be fooling their followers. Isn’t it a constitutional right to strike in order to force government to attend to critical issues affecting the civil service? Some parents and “analysts” interviewed by the national broadcaster ZBC TV thought the strike by teachers was ill-informed, claiming they were ruining the future of Zimbabwe’s children.
Isn’t it that the nation’s economic fabric is already in a shambles? Can it support that some officials must be allowed to loot national resources when teachers and nurses who form the spine of the economy continue to be marginalised and forced to live in squalor?
Rot is Zanu PF
The rot is Zanu PF and Zanu PF is the enemy of the future of Zimbabwe — not teachers. No-one in his/her normal senses just wakes up one day to think of a strike without a cause. Government bigwigs must stop poisoning the well by claiming those who embark on industrial action are not patriotic.
Not even ashamed, ZBC reported civil servants must not feel betrayed because the issue of salaries was not confined to them, but to the broader spectrum of the economy. Why should rational leaders find solace in explaining that industries are shutting down and that revenue inflows are low without fixing the source of the problem?
For how long shall Mugabe hold the nation to ransom while refusing the people the right to express their grief? Heaven forbid!
And the Zimbabwe Independent exposed last week that US$2 million was spent on CIO cars, obviously for Mugabe’s protection and nothing else. Why should anyone hope the economy will improve when government’s priorities are so misplaced? Pleasing the CIO and the army can never be a solution to fiscal woes of any nation.